The story so far
The death of fellow tourist Nigel Farnsworth, who had come to Tupelo to find out the “Truth” about Elvis, left his four companions with a mystery of their own to solve. But now one of the four has met a similar fate. Everyone, it seems, is a suspect, including a librarian by the name of Vonnie Wiggins.
n Editor’s note: This 10-chapter serial began Sunday with Chapters 1 and 2 and concludes with the final two chapters on Sunday, Aug. 16, the 32nd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.
By DANZA JOHNSON
“Come on, Adam, it’s just Greta, you’ve known her for years,” Adam Chandler told his reflection in the mirror as he began to get ready for his late night meeting with Greta Klaus.
“It’s just an evening with a friend, dinner with a close friend, a very beautiful close friend.”
The more he tried to pump himself up for his rendezvous, the more nervous he got. But after three outfit changes and three glasses of wine, he was ready.
Feeling a tad bit tipsy, Adam strolled down the Hilton Garden Inn hallway to the elevator. As the doors of the elevator closed and the bell counted up to the fourth floor, the butterflies he thought he drank away came back.
He reached her door and slipped the key she’d given him out of his pocket, then slowly opened the door to a darkened room.
“I’m here,” he said.
There was no answer.
“Greta?” he said.
Still no answer.
“Are you sleeping?”
As his eyes adjusted to the glow of a streetlight outside the window, he slowly made his way to the bed. He pulled back the covers and touched her, and felt something sticky and scary.
“Greta. Greta! Somebody help me! Heeeelp!” Adam screamed as he moved away from the lifeless body, pulling the covers with him.
“Well, there’s no question about this one,” Detective George Sonot said as he glanced at the blood-stained mattress in Greta’s room. “This is definitely murder.”
“Sir, you’re standing in some of the evidence,” said Patrolman James Knight, pointing at Greta’s blood on the carpet.
Sonot stepped back, and nearly tripped over the bed. “Hmmm,” he said, righting himself. “Let’s talk to the man with blood on his clothes.”
As they walked out, the officers were careful to avoid the blood, which already had collected on the bottom of Sonot’s shoes, as well as those belonging to Adam.
Adam and Irma Jones sat next to each other on the floor in the hallway.
“So you’re the boyfriend,” Sonot said.
Adam dried his eyes on his sleeve, nodding.
“If I had gotten there sooner she’d still be alive, just a little bit sooner,” he said.
“It’s not your fault,” Irma said. “There was nothing anyone could have done, not me, not you, not Bennett. Speaking of Bennett, where is he? I called his room and didn’t get an answer. He isn’t picking up his cell phone, either.”
“Who’s Bennett?” Sonot said.
“He’s a friend of ours,” Irma said.
“A friend of the deceased?”
“Sure,” Irma said.
“No way,” Adam said. “Bennett had nothing to do with this.”
“So why did you kill her?” the detective said.
“Don’t ever accuse me of such a thing,” Adam said. “I loved her, loved her. I would never have harmed Greta.”
“Tell me why I should believe you.”
“I… I… I…,” Adam stammered.
“And where were you, missy?” the detective asked Irma. Before she could answer, he added. “And you better give that Bennett fellow a call.”
“He’s probably dead somewhere, and the real killer’s getting away,” Adam said.
“Quiet,” Sonot said, then pointed to Irma. “Call him.”
As Irma held the phone to her ear, the three of them heard Elvis’ version of “Unchained Melody” coming from the room.
“Stay here,” Sonot told them.
He had to step aside to allow the gurney carrying Greta Klaus’ body to exit the room. Adam stared at the leather bag holding his girlfriend, and broke out in new tears.
Irma kept her eyes on Sonot, who had reached under Greta’s bed. When he came up, he was holding a cell phone whose screen read, “Missed Call Irma.” It was Bennett’s cell phone.
“Vodka and cranberry juice, please,” Vonnie Wiggins requested as he sat in the back of the smoke-filled pool hall in Verona.
Wiggins hated such places. The stench of old beer, the bowl of germ-filled peanuts on the tables and the cast of social misfits that frequented such joints all irked Vonnie.
It wasn’t the type of place someone would expect to find an uptight librarian, which is exactly why Vonnie chose it as a meeting place.
Nearly an hour had gone by and Vonnie was still alone. Tired, nervous and annoyed by being stood up, Vonnie decided to pay his tab and leave.
As he unlocked the door to his blue Toyota, Vonnie’s descent into his car was interrupted by the toot of a horn.
“What took you so long?” Vonnie said.
Thursday: Harum Scarum
Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal